Entering tonight’s game vs the Vancouver Canucks Pittsburgh carries an 11-8-3 record as a reliance on the power play and some 3-on-3 overtime wins have inflated that win total a bit.
The Penguins are in a bit of a two-fold situation.
They have won back-to-back Stanley Cups so there shouldn’t any panic in late November, but the mentality of how this roster has been built has trickled back to the 2014-2015 season mentality from the General Manager and it could have long-term implications on the Penguins chances of three-peating.
Pittsburgh’s bottom-6 center situation is what it is but where the Penguins have hindered themselves has been going away from more skilled players in the bottom-6.
The coaching staff is handcuffed right now with Ryan Reaves.
Mike Sullivan is fine with playing Reaves but where a rift is starting between the coaching staff and management Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
While Jim Rutherford doesn’t interfere much in lineup decisions, this is one situation where sources say Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
Penguins have skilled options in the Minors to add different dynamic in bottom-6
— With the trade deadline just over three months away, the easiest fix for the Penguins in the short-term is diving into the farm system to put a more skilled bottom-6 on the ice and see where things go before deciding whether to make an impact trade or not.
And they have candidates who could come in and provide that jolt.
No. 1 on the list is Daniel Sprong.
Sprong is a Phil Kessel type player who is horrid at times away from the puck but the skill level, most notably his shot coming down the wing is off the charts. Pittsburgh’s infatuation with Sprong needing to improve his play away from the puck needs to be toned down.
It’s never going to improve enough to appease coaches, whether he spends two more seasons in the minors or two weeks before an NHL call-up.
One discussion among the coaching staff with Sprong is whether Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"